The Next Chapter of Resume Advice

Since transitioning from a sourcing role into an advertising/marketing role six years ago, I don’t see nearly as many resumes as I used to. However, last year, I was asked to help out with a number of sourcing projects which have extended into this year, allowing me to revisit the sourcing world and sharpen some sleuthing skills that have lay dormant in the recruiting toolbox for a few years. Nearly every week, I see blogs providing resume tips, and for good reason. It’s amazing how many horrible resumes are uploaded to job boards expecting to result in job offers. But then again, most people don’t know what a truly bad resume looks like until they’ve seen hundreds of them.

The typical resume blog usually includes the same advice: make sure there are no misspellings, make sure to include your updated contact info, make sure it fits on one or two pages, don’t include “references available upon request,” etc. Even though it’s a little redundant, publishing the same info over and over is warranted by job seekers ignoring the info again and again. We can’t help those who refuse to help themselves. As important as this advice is, I’ve come across a few more pointers in my sourcing efforts that I don’t see as often in a typical resume blog. If it prompts even one candidate to make a change in their resume, it will certainly make the recruiter assigned to source that candidate’s resume breathe a bit easier.

Make Your Contact Info the First Thing on Your Resume

One thing I see often is resumes with no contact info. The reason is most likely that it’s being uploaded into a job board like CareerBuilder or Monster, and those sites prominently display the job seeker’s contact info at the top of the page. However, this doesn’t help when a recruiter downloads the resume. I often find myself having to copy the candidate’s contact info from the top of the page and paste it into the downloaded resume before saving it. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth the time that could be better spent sourcing more resumes.

Never Construct Your Resume in Text

Every now and then, I’ll come across a resume written in Text, most likely because the candidate doesn’t have Microsoft Word on their computer. I can’t stress how unprofessional this looks. If you don’t have Word, surely someone you know does. It’s worth the time and effort to borrow a few minutes on their computer in order to construct a professional-looking resume that doesn’t look like it was typed on a typewriter. Additionally, while many candidates opt to use Acrobat to construct their resume, Word is still preferable as many recruiters’ ATS systems often have trouble reading the info on Acrobat documents.

Make Sure Your Resume Is Downloadable

Many job seekers simply cut and paste their resumes into job boards without bothering to actually upload the resume document. This means if a recruiter wants to save their resume in order to forward to a hiring manager, they have to copy the resume from the site and paste it into a Word document in order to save a copy since downloading isn’t an option. The resulting copy never looks as good as a downloaded copy, and some info may be left off in the copy and paste process. Also, when the goal is to get your resume into a recruiter’s hands and ultimately receive a job offer, here’s a hint: make the recruiter’s job as easy as possible.

View Your Resume Once It’s Uploaded

After uploading your resume to a job board, make sure to check out how it looks. Did it upload properly? Are there formatting issues that are causing the text to appear too large or too small? Is the entire document visible or did some of it get cut off? Every recruiter sees resumes on a regular basis that cause them to question how a job seeker could expect to get hired representing themselves with such a document, but it’s especially frustrating when the inconsistencies are simply the result of a computer or software error. Regardless, it’s far easier to recognize the error when it happens and correct it than to try to explain to a recruiter or employer that it was the computer’s fault.

Once You’re Hired, Delete It

Once your resume has served its purpose and you’ve settled into your new job, don’t forget to delete it from the job boards to which you uploaded it. Remember how annoying it was when you applied to jobs only to find out that they were filled months ago but the employer never bothered to remove them from the job boards? Recruiters and employers feel the same frustration when candidates leave their resumes posted long after they’re no longer seeking employment. If you’re open to exploring new opportunities, you can always leave it posted to see what other offers may come your way. However, be aware that if your current employer sees your resume posted, they may consider it a sign of dissatisfaction with your current job and start preparing for your departure.

Your resume could very well be the most important document you construct in your life. Depending on the priority an employer places on resumes, it can determine who you work for, which will in turn determine your income, who you work with, who you become friends with, possibly where you live, and these will determine future connections and employment. Are you willing to compromise all of these things simply because you don’t have the time to invest in your resume? Nearly all job seekers describe themselves as “detail-oriented.” Make sure you’re demonstrating this on the document that will serve as your introduction to your next stage of employment.

By John Feldmann

John Feldmann is a Senior Communications Specialist for Insperity in Houston, TX. With over a decade of marketing and employment branding experience in the recruiting and human resources industries, John specializes in employment- and HR-related content development for a variety of media types in order to communicate Insperity's brand to both business professionals and job seekers. Follow John on X @John_Feldmann.